Newsletter July 2006

  by: Karen Telling

The weather was fairly unusual at the beginning of June, with several overcast mornings, although the cloud generally cleared to give warm, sunny afternoons, and the village was noticeably busier as the summer season got underway. Although I love Carvoeiro in the winter, it is nice to see the ‘buzz’ in the summer, and the village seems to revel in the attention from all the holidaymakers.

Approximately a year ago, some friends in the UK who are regular visitors to Carvoeiro, contacted me to discuss their son’s wedding plans. The actual ceremony was arranged to take place in England, but the bride and groom wanted to spend their honeymoon in Carvoeiro – this was to be no normal honeymoon though, as they would be joined by twenty friends and family members, and I was happy to help with any arrangements that had to be made in Carvoeiro. The wedding took place at the end of May and the wedding party arrived in Portugal at the beginning of June so we had booked a table at Tia Ilda for Sunday 4 June, for the 24 of us; the owners of the restaurant reserved a corner of the upstairs terrace for us and had decorated it beautifully. Although the restaurant was very busy, the staff coped wonderfully and our meals were all served together, followed by a beautiful sponge and fresh fruit ‘wedding’ cake. For some of the group it was their first visit to Carvoeiro, and this was the perfect introduction for them. We then walked up the hill and invaded Joker bar, taking over their karaoke evening with some very accomplished performances from the bride, groom, and guests. Later in the week, we joined the groom’s parents and grandmother for a meal at Ele Ela; I was really pleased to hear that the ‘honeymoon’ had been a great success for everyone – and a holiday to remember!

Please find the photos here (opens new window).

The whole month in Carvoeiro was dominated by the World Cup – the Portuguese are normally football-obsessed, with several daily newspapers devoted solely to the game, but building up to the World Cup the village became a sea of flags. With so many different nationalities here, Portuguese, English, German, Dutch and Brazilian flags were everywhere - lots of cars could be seen with a Portuguese flag on one side, and the owner’s ‘home’ nation’s flag on the other side. Most of the bars, except Havana and Rascals, showed all the matches, and even restaurants that do not normally have televisions, like Oasis, made sure that their customers – and staff – didn’t miss a game. Finally it started – each nationality waiting anxiously for its team to play, and most supporting Portugal too! I am not a huge football fan, and not even English, and I have to confess that I don’t find the initial games that interesting, but even if you didn’t keep up with who was playing when, there was no doubt when Portugal had won as the noise of the car horns was deafening, and the streets were clogged with cars driving round and round, waving scarves and flags.

Please find the photos here (opens new window).

On 15 June we had friends arriving from England on the early TAP flight from Heathrow, so they reached Carvoeiro just before lunchtime – unfortunately so did a huge dark cloud. We decided to go out for lunch, and we were sitting outside Anteak bar when the heavens opened and we had the heaviest rain for several months and Rua do Barranco became a river. Fortunately it didn’t last long but still, very unusual weather for Carvoeiro in June and it put a bit of a dampener on any plans to watch the England match outside one of the bars. We finished our lunch, and decided it would be better to go back home and watch the football in the dry! The weather did clear up by early evening when we picked our friends up for dinner at Bella Vita, followed by a nightcap at Havana bar. The following day was slightly overcast again, but we managed to have a barbecue lunch in the garden before the ‘boys’ went for a game of golf, but just as we were clearing up along came another heavy shower! Thankfully that was the last of the bad weather and we walked down to Oasis for dinner, then on to Rascals for a few drinks. Although the weather had been unsettled it was still warm, and we sat out on the terrace until just after midnight.
The next day was the Portugal Iran match and we went to Imprevisto for lunch, and to watch the first half of the game, before saying goodbye to our friends who were moving to another part of the Algarve for the rest of their holiday. At the end of the match it became apparent that Portugal and England could meet in the knock-out stage of the competition – which was confirmed following their next games during the week – could we all cope with a re-run of Euro 2004!
As I was photographing the flags in the village for the newsletter, I noticed that the hoarding had been removed from the square, leaving just a couple of areas surrounded by barriers. So finally, the work on the new drainage and sewage system is almost complete – just in time for the busiest part of the summer season, and the view of the beach from the bars and restaurants on the square has been restored. There has also been some work going on to repair and replace areas of calçada pavements around the village, but most of this work also seems to have finished now.

Please find the photos here (opens new window).

The 22nd June was my husband’s birthday, and he chose to celebrate with a meal at Mr Grillo in Porches. We hadn’t been to this restaurant for over a year, and had never been in summer before, so it was lovely to have a table on the terrace at the back of the restaurant, looking out over the surrounding countryside. We had a delicious meal, starting with their ‘cocktail of the day’ and ending with their speciality dessert – flambée bananas. The weather was now completely back to normal for the time of year with daytime temperatures of 28-32 degrees, and sitting out in the evening was very pleasant. The restaurant offers a wide choice of meat and fish dishes, and also a good vegetarian selection, it is well worth a trip to Porches, but best to book in advance, especially in summer.
As we are in the (seemingly) endless process of renovating our house, we took a trip to the new Retail Park at Portimão – it is very easy to find, just off the motorway between the exits for Portimão and Alvor. It is not as big as Algarve Shopping at Guia, but still worth a visit, we particularly wanted to go to AKI, the DIY store, but there is also a Staples (office equipment), Radio Popular (electrical goods), Moviflor (furniture) and a Carrefour hypermarket is due to open soon. We also found a shop called DeBorla which stocks everything from garden furniture to toiletries and cleaning materials at extremely good prices – it’s a real treasure trove of bargains and things you didn’t even know you needed! After a marathon shopping trip we stopped off at the food court for lunch, again, it is not as big as the food court at Algarve Shopping, with around half a dozen cafés and restaurants. We decided on quiche and salad which came with a soft drink and dessert for 4.50 euros each – very good value and just what we needed to restore our energy.
Towards the end of the month we took a trip to Cabanas, just the other side of Tavira, to visit a friend from our village in England who was staying at her apartment. Cabanas is a smaller, quieter resort than Carvoeiro, although it has expanded quite a lot recently, and is still very ‘Portuguese’. One of the interesting things about Cabanas is that the sea directly in front of the village is actually an estuary and there are small boats which ferry you the few hundred metres across to the beach. We had a lovely lunch of Caldeirada and monkfish rice in one of the cafés overlooking the sea, whilst we caught up on news from the UK. We returned to Carvoeiro with the prospect of the Portugal England match the next day – by the time you read this the result will be known, but may the best team win!